The Let's Play Archive

Colony Wars Trilogy

by Lunethex

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Original Thread: The Hitchhikers Guide to COLONY WARS III: RED SUN!



Time to start another LP, departing from the usual raucous atmosphere and working similarly to Ace Combat 3. Having the idea 2 years ago to make this happen, but not the hardware unfortunately, I finally have what I need and have overcome what I thought a crippling bug that made this game unplayable on emulators. With that said, I will be doing the Colony Wars trilogy! I love this game so very much and am looking forward to dissecting it and showcasing everything about it. My plan is simple: I will show every mission, every path, every database. Going through the first game, there will be 5 routes, from worst ending to best ending. I will post supplementary videos, like the system database videos, as we finish solar systems.

Hope we can get some cool science facts in here, among other things as this game's themes come into their own!

Colony Wars is a true classic. Psygnosis, now formally part of Sony Computer Entertainment as SCE Studio Liverpool put out a lot of games in their time, some good, some bad, some exceptional. Colony Wars is in a league of its own and was equivalent to another game called Descent, which was succeeded by Freespace, something many considered the end-all of Space Sims at the time, itself preceded one year by Colony Wars. True to the developer's desire to create a space-sim unlike any seen previously, this fast-paced space shoot 'em up will have you in the cockpits of scouts, bombers, interceptors, and stealth fighters armed with an array of weaponry ranging from lasers to EMP guns and plasma torpedoes!

The main selling point of Colony Wars was its branching paths, and the developers focused heavily on that and the cinematic experience. Spanning over 70 missions, the player, as a member of the League of Free Worlds, faces off against the Earth Empire’s space force, the Colonial Navy, and can acquire five different endings depending on their performance. Success or failure in one mission will not dramatically decide the fate of the war between the Navy and the League, but too many defeats will lock you into a path that you will have no choice but to see to its bitter conclusion. A sometimes challenging and sometimes easy game with plenty of dogfighting and capital ship battles separated by narrated FMVs which detail the state of the war and the mood of the nascent League, voiced by Burt Caesar, who delivers awe-inspiring performances.

For this LP I will show off every tidbit there is to it and its sequels. Not many games had this kind of love and care put into them. The game also features two separate databases, one for the Solar Systems and their planets, the other for the starfighters and fleet craft possessed by both sides – each subject has fully voiced and detailed explanations given which all tie into the fictional universe.

In the 5th millennium, Earth and the Sol System are under the control of what is known as the Earth Empire. Due to a need for resources, as Earth and its neighboring planets have already been fully stripped of all they had to offer, sleeper ships carrying colonists are sent out to distant worlds and systems found to have an abundance of natural resources and harvest them. Spreading like a sickness with no planet or life form immune to it, vast tracks of the universe had been rendered sterile by the Empire's expansion. The discovery of hyperspace technology, also known as Jump Engine Technology, allowed the Empire to accelerate its interstellar expansion, stretching even further into space beginning what is known as the Expansionary Era.

The first extrasolar colony is established in Alpha Centauri, where the tensions began. The ruling figure of the Empire, the Tsar, passed a law requiring all current and future colonies to dedicate the majority of their planetary resources to the survival of Earth and its Empire, claiming that it was to honor it as the birthplace of humanity. Refusal was not an option. Any who dared to decline were subsequently annihilated by the Colonial Navy. All colonists were treated from then on as second-rate humans by the citizens and corporations of the Empire.

A peaceful insurrection in the 48th century results in the Tsar personally leading the destruction of the planet. Stunned by the carnage, the other colonies band together as the League of Free Worlds and openly revolt against the Empire. Outer-rim Empire officers, commanders, and technicians also defect, dismayed by the horrible treatment of their fellow men. In Alpha Centauri, separatists claimed three planets of the system and are locked in conflict with Navy loyalists. The Navy responds by spreading its forces out. One such Navy fleet is sent to Gallonigher, the League's home star system, but is hampered by hit-and-run strikes that lure them into a trap in the asteroid belt near Bennay where it is decisively defeated.

This famous victory, henceforth the Battle of Bennay, gave the rag-tag League time to strengthen its fleet in preparation for the First Colony War, where the game starts.


MShadowy posted:

Pretty advanced, I guess. The opening cutscene establishes that the Empire is capable of destroying entire planets, and has the systems necessary to do so installed in at least one defence post that the League has taken over; presumably the Empire has similar posts established elsewhere. That would require access to truly absurd power generation technology.

Also, was thinking on this LP while practicing, so I ended up doodling a slight redesign of my favorite League ship, the humble frigate:

I'm not sure why I like these (relatively) dinky little things so much.

Also, more League spess sheeps, becasue I like them, and also because perspective is a huge pain in the ass so I need more practice:

Started out trying just to do the Destroyer, but I had space in the corner so I shoved in a Cruiser as well.

"...without Diomedes, the League was finished; without the League, Diomedes was dead..."
Colony Wars Episode 1 - Gallonigher System [POST]
Colony Wars Episode 2 - Diomedes System [POST]
Colony Wars - Fail Reel 1

"...The Tsar promised glory tomorrow in return for treachery today, then watched as the League ripped itself apart...
Colony Wars Episode 3 - Draco System Part 1 [POST]
Colony Wars Episode 4 - Alpha-Centauri System Part 1 [POST]

"...confidence was evaporating. Self-belief was draining from my comrades and myself, and from what I heard, there were those in the fleet that even blamed The Father himself..."
Colony Wars Episode 5 - Alpha-Centauri System Part 2 [POST]

"...rookies were becoming hardened to the fluctuations of war as innocent fears were forgotten in the searing heat of battle; we hoped the Navy were learning those fears as we were losing ours..."
Colony Wars Episode 6 - Draco System Part 2 [POST]
Colony Wars - Fail Reel 2
Colony Wars - Betrayal Ending
Colony Wars Episode 7 - Sol System Part 1 [POST]

"In those split seconds after victory was won, I thought the stars were parting to let us through!
Colony Wars Episode 8 - Sol System Part 2 [POST]
Colony Wars Episode 9 - Sol System Part 3 [POST]

Fixing a lot of the flaws in the first game, Colony Wars: Vengeance struck with, well, a vengeance () after the success of Colony Wars. Instead of being a faceless member of their military, the player follows the events of the game's narrator, Mertens, and his wingmen as he and many others join the new Navy under an enigmatic leader named Kron. With nothing but the desire to strike back at the League for trapping them in Sol, they retake their system and pool as many resources as they can in the development of brand new ships and weapons, and like a great demon strike out from their prison. Although they have their passion, the Navy is still facing overwhelming odds and are seriously outgunned and outnumbered, they will have to rely on the League's old tricks and a new brand of aggression.

Capital ships feature hard points, there are planet-side missions and multi-stage missions, and many new weapons to use across five distinct fighters unlocked over the game. The game features no craft or system database, but re-uses 3 of the past systems with only two new systems, but the focus is definitely on the Navy & League's war, and the bloodshed and hostility reach new levels.

Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 1 - Sol & Gallonigher Part 1 [POST]
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 2 - Sol & Gallonigher Part 2 [POST]
Colony Wars Vengeance - Fail Reel #1
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 3 - Cronus System Part 1 [POST]
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 4 - Cronus System Part 2 [POST]
Colony Wars Vengeance - Fail Reel #2
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 5 - Alpha-Centauri System Part 1 [POST]
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 6 - Alpha-Centauri System Part 2
Colony Wars Vengeance - Fail Reel #3
Happy Kron
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 7 - Boreas System Part 1 [POST]
Colony Wars Vengeance Episode 8 - Boreas System Part 2
Colony Wars Vengeance - Fail Reel #4

Red Sun was not developed by the team that created Colony Wars and Colony Wars: Vengeance. It is a spin-off title that takes a few familiar things from the first two to create a story surrounding them. It does not do this admirably. The ship designs are questionable, a lot of the capital ships have been scaled down massively to fit into the game's poly count, and it does away with the cinematic feel of a very nasty war between two factions with their own tales of atrocity to tell, who in several cases were reduced to committing heinous war crimes against each other to gain the upper hand. Instead, the game follows a chap named Valdemar who is contacted by an entity referring to himself only as The General using a technology called Tachyon Engram. He tasks Valdemar, a down on his luck miner to uncover the truth about a new starship called the Red Sun, and warns him that its plans will decide the fate of the human race.

It's definitely a console experience of a game like privateer. You take contracts to make money to buy better ships. Whilst the variety is appreciated, it becomes very, very quickly apparent that the most efficient way to win the missions is mashing X as hard as you can with three lasers and forgetting about 80% of the shop after the first three missions.

Colony Wars Red Sun Episode 1 - Magenta System [POST]
Colony Wars Red Sun Episode 2 - New India System Part 1 [POST]
Colony Wars Red Sun Episode 3 - New India System Part 2 [POST]
Colony Wars Red Sun Episode 4 - Interworld System [POST]
Colony Wars Red Sun Episode 5 - Aurora System [POST]
Colony Wars Red Sun Episode 6 - Boreas System [POST]

No Story Spoilers Please! Everything else in tags!
Massive thanks to nine-gear crow and CJacobs for the database graphics!
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